TV Review: Syfy’s ‘Town Of the Living Dead’

Town of the Living Dead TV

For those interested in such things, the pitch meeting for “Town of the Living Dead,” a Syfy unscripted comedy, had to go something like this: “Think, ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,’ with a touch of ‘Project Greenlight.’ Oh, and zombies. Did we mention the zombies?” Yet while this represents a lower-octane way to chase after “The Walking Dead’s” footprint than the recent drama “Z Nation,” it’s still a rather uninspired addition to reality TV’s hillbilly chic craze, aimed at those apt to swallow anything they see on TV as gospel and who like their brains deep-fried.

The series is set in the small Alabama town of Jasper, where residents have been working on their own homemade zombie movie, “Thr33 Days Dead,” for the past six years, or so we’re told. The producer, Tina Teeter, has sunk $25,000 into the effort, she says, violating, among other things, Hollywood’s “Never use your own money” maxim.

Not surprisingly, those working on the film are the entertainment version of the Island of Misfit Toys: A director, John Ware, who toils at Radio Shack, and struggles to make decisions; Bryan Boylen, a leading man plagued by anxiety issues; Chase Lawrence, a co-star who lives with his mother; Terry Hunter, a makeup artist who refers to himself as the “token gay guy.” And so on.

Unfortunately, the first two episodes immediately dive into the logistics of shooting the movie — like recruiting local townsfolk to dress up and play extras — without digging into the backstories, starting with what motivated Tina to do this, how she’s paying for it and (perhaps most obviously) what the intrusion of TV producers means for the process. The show says Syfy will air the movie if the crew can ever get it finished, but that’s presented as a virtual afterthought.

Instead, viewers of these initial episodes are treated to typical reality-TV conventions, including the not-very-suspenseful plot point of whether the producers can actually mount a shot where a boat (really, more like a canoe) blows up, having decided they need to incorporate some special effects — which is every bit as riveting as that sounds.

Syfy is positioning the series as part of its “31 Days of Halloween” marathon, and in one respect, it fits right in with a lot of the schlocky movies that will pad out that schedule. Still, what this benign, not-all-that-colorful sojourn to Alabama unleashes feels a lot closer to a pastel drip than a crimson tide.

TV Review: Syfy's 'Town Of the Living Dead'

(Series; Syfy, Tue. Oct. 7, 10 p.m.)

Production

Produced by True Entertainment.

Crew

Executive producers, Glenda Hersh, Steven Weinstock, David Stefanou. 30 MIN.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 5

Leave a Reply

5 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. My husband and I are originally from Jasper, as are Michael Rooker (Merle from “walking Dead”) and Goober Lindsey. Although it has been many years since we lived there, this series is exactly as I remembered it and the town’s people are that colorful, religious, and sweet natured. At this point, the show does not appear to be forced drama (which, generally, is the nature of reality TV) or contrived.

  2. I have some explosive experience and would like offer so help in being an extra.

  3. Mike F. says:

    Very snarky review. These are real people, and they really did sink their own money into the movie over the last six years. Where did they get $25,000? Credit cards. And instead of saying “or so we’re told,” as if you know the timeline is not true, why don’t you ask the PR department for verification instead of making a snide comment? You don’t have to like the show… but don’t imply that it’s not real when you don’t know.

  4. Paul says:

    Merely an opinion ^ the show is funny, the crew is lovable, and there are stakes in the crew finishing

  5. ITTTY IT says:

    TAVISTOCK mind control FAKE media and Hollywood
    continuing to pumnp that technotronic predictive programming.

    BLEH

    WHO needs it?

More TV News from Variety

Loading